Panorama ready with another Fifa probe

Panorama and investigative journalist Andrew Jennings are poised to deliver another critical delve into an international sports story, with a return to the financial goings on at world football body Fifa under its president Sepp Blatter, with a programme now set for transmission next Monday, October 22.

This will see the programme go out ahead of the Fifa executive committee’s meeting the following week, when it is expected to agree to the end of rotation of the World Cup between continents, and therefore open the way for England to bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

Jennings authored a Panorama special on Fifa finances last year, ahead of the World Cup, in which he made wide-ranging allegations about corruption involving Blatter and Trinidadian official Jack Warner.

Jennings’ previous sports work was the renowned book Lord of the Rings, written with Vyv Simson, that led to television documentaries on both ITV and BBC.

Panorama‘s investigation into the International Olympic Committee in 2005, when London was bidding for the 2012 Games, led to the expulsion of a corrupt Bulgarian member of the world’s most exclusive club, but saw the programme accused of undermining British hopes of winning the Games bid.

Ahead of this latest programme, Panorama has sent letters to Blatter, general secretary Jerome Valcke and executive committee members Warner and Chuck Blazer asking them to respond to a number of claims. In the letters Panorama says its is “examining whether England can expect ‘fair play’ from Fifa” in bidding for the 2018 finals.

The programme will also be investigating the conduct of Fifa officials following the American court case between Fifa and MasterCard that ended with football’s world governing body agreeing a £45 million settlement with the credit card giant.

After the case, the New York lawyer Martin Hyman derided Fifa when he said: “Disraeli once said there were three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. We have learned from Fifa that there are more. We have learned about the six degrees of prevarication: white lies, commercial lies, bluffs, pure lies, straight untruths and perjury.”

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